I believe in superstition, but when it comes to the William & Mary Tribe, it hasn't gotten me very far. All the half-shading, maybe, sorta, could-they, would-they hasn't amounted to a hill of beans in terms of snapping W&M's NCAA Tournament hex. So, to hell with it, I'm throwing caution to the wind.
W&M is 15-8, 7-3 in CAA play, winners of five out of six. They have six games remaining in their conference schedule, with four of those games in the cozy confines of Kaplan Arena. Anything worse than 10-6 in the league must be considered a disappointment. The Tribe's eight road victories place the team in the top 10 in the nation in that category. They're winning games in places and ways unfamiliar to long-time Wren fans.
Take Saturday's game at Northeastern, for example. Before this season, W&M had never won at the Huskies' Mathews Arena, losing seven straight games in Boston. At halftime, Tony Shaver's squad led, 45-18, opening up a 33-point lead early in the second frame before coasting to an 82-70 win.
W&M teams just don't win that way on the road.
Or harken back to the first game of this six-game stretch, when the Tribe took on Drexel in the second game of a brutal, weather-impacted road trip coming off a terrible loss against a mediocre Hofstra squad. Team G:TB was in the house when Marcus Thornton pulled up for the buzzer-beating game-winner.
W&M teams don't win that game, either.
We've written a lot of words in this space about Thornton, mostly because he's the best player ever to wear W&M's green and gold. This really isn't arguable at this point. But since he made that shot against Drexel, he's seemed to be a different player, taking the leap from spectacular talent to a team-leading, get-on-my-back superstar hell-bent on winning.
In the this season-defining six-game stretch, Thornton's averaged 23.5 points and 3.3 assists per game (dropping a season-high five dimes twice). He's made 54.9% of his shots from the field, and 57.1% of his threes (he's 16th in the nation in made three-pointers). He's scored 25 or more points in four of the six games, boosting his season average to a CAA-best 20.0 per game, good for 28th in the NCAA.
We've written a lot about the need for a redass in green and gold. We had it wrong. We didn't need a redass; we just needed Marcus Thornton to make the leap.
In a league where all that matters is getting hot for three games in March, I'll take my chances with our guys.
Fuck you, Jobu.